The Nature Conservancy has started construction to restore a 10-acre pocket estuary at Livingston Bay, an inlet on the eastern shore of Camano Island that is part of the much larger Port Susan Bay.
The Conservancy will remove a section of manmade dike that has blocked natural inlets and outlets for the estuary and made it a saltwater lagoon, inaccessible to fish and swarming with saltwater mosquitoes. By restoring regular tidal connection between the pocket estuary and bay, the project will create important rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, coho, steelhead and bull trout while reducing breeding mosquitoes through regular tidal flushing. Juvenile fish migrating out of the nearby Stillaguamish River will find refuge and food in this corner of Livingston Bay. Work is expected to be complete in early to mid-October.
The Livingston Bay Pocket Estuary restoration builds on more than a decade of conservation work in Port Susan Bay. In 2001, the Conservancy acquired more than 4,100 acres of salt marsh and tidal flats that’s now known as the Port Susan Bay Preserve.
In 2005, the Whidbey-Camano Land Trust permanently protected 3,000 acres of tidelands in and around Livingston Bay. The Conservancy purchased the 43 acres that includes this pocket estuary in 2009.
The Conservancy is now wrapping up work on a major restoration project at the Port Susan Bay Preserve and is expected to be completed by mid-October.
Together, the Port Susan Bay restoration and the Livingston Bay Pocket Estuary restoration will bring essential natural processes back to the northern end of Port Susan Bay. Both of these projects are highlighted in the Conservation Action Plan for the Port Susan Marine Stewardship Area. This collaborative planning effort is coordinating strategic conservation actions among over thirty partners around the bay to work toward a healthy and sustainable Port Susan for years to come.
The project will cost roughly $380,000 for pre-construction, construction and post-construction work. Funding for the project comes from the state Salmon Recovery Funding Board, the state Jobs Bill, the National Partnership between the NOAA Restoration Center and The Nature Conservancy, and private donations.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
The Nature Conservancy in Washington